Nov 132014 0 Responses

Never Ask “How Can I Make My Child Have Faith?”

One of the most common questions I receive is “How can I get my child to have faith?” While the intention of this question is wonderful, the question itself is not the right focus. A parent cannot make a child believe. Instead of focusing on making them believe, we need to focus on creating a climate in which they might choose to believe.

In this final episode of The 7 Series: Parenting, Laura Keep and I discuss the issue of faith when it comes to parenting.

Parenting is an expression of my faith and a great instructor in faith.

Show Notes:

Faith answers the “who” of parenting. Who do we want to be as parents? Who do we want our children to be? We want to be, and we want them to be, a person of faith.

Parenting is ultimately an expression of faith. (See: Three Ways Parents Discourage Their Children)

Each word–authority, love, choices, consequences, environment, and conversation–point to faith and flow from our faith.

The right question: “How do we as parents share our faith with our kids?”

The wrong question: “How can we make our children believe?”

We can’t make our kids believe. Their belief is between them and God.

I can create a climate which allows them to choose to believe.

If we aren’t careful, in our attempt to force our children to believe, we will exchange faith for religion.

Before I am a parent, I am foremost a child of God. I must believe before I can share faith with my kids.

Personal spiritual growth should be a primary focus of a parent. (See: One Thing We Must Teach Our Children)

Fathers are tempted to spend more time instructing our kids in sports rather than faith because of our insecurity regarding faith. We must avoid this temptation. If we ignore faith but focus on sports, we will communicate to our kids that sports are more important than faith.

Parents should be growing with their kids in faith. There is no need to hide our ignorance. We can reveal it and then seek to grow together.

My focus should never be on a one-time experience of faith for my children. My focus is on a lifetime of belief. This perspective gives my child room to doubt, question, and to grapple with the issues of faith.

Questions of doubt regarding faith are tremendous opportunities to teach our children. Never fear questions or doubt.

A parent’s role is to always be bringing issues of faith to the surface in the midst of family discussions.

Never make the centerpiece of your child’s life a picture of faith (baptism, confirmation, etc).

The scariest verse in all the Bible is “children obey your parents.” This command should get the attention of parents.

Most problems in my life are because I obey me over God; it’s frightening to think God actually commands little people to obey me. The awareness that God commands them to obey me should greatly influence the choices I make.

My temptation as a father is to overplay my authority, downplay God’s command to act in love, and to cause my children to lose Godly hope. The Bible warns fathers against this. (See: A Father’s Primary Role)

One of the great roles of a parent is to continually remind them of our hope. No matter what we have done or the consequences of choices, a Christian has hope because of what God has done for us.

If we are overly focused on a one-time experience, we will likely rush our children into decisions they aren’t truly making. If we are focused on a lifetime of faith, we will be far more patient.

If parents do not intentionally try to influence our children toward faith, our children might believe but they will do so in spite of us not because of us.

Parents too often bring up issues of faith only when a child has done wrong. This is why many people have the belief about God that he is an angry God who does not like us. We must talk about God at all times, especially in good times. Whenever we speak of God in the context of our children making mistakes, it should be about his grace more than his judgment.


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